Theses Doctoral

Effectively Implementing an Online Homework and Testing Management System to Increase Student Achievement - A Student Tailored Pedagogical Approach

Dawes, Dale

Turning to online educational technology is a growing trend in our society. In particular, many community college Mathematics Departments have adopted online preparation and rigorous enhancement platform (OPREP) such as WebAssign. Nationally educators are attempting to address the low passing rates in developmental mathematics. Developmental mathematics courses are the gatekeepers to higher education. Slow progression through these courses can adversely affect a student’s ability to persist to graduation, which in turn impacts an individual’s employment opportunities and quality of life. The literature shows that OPREPs are typically employed to replace the tedious and time-consuming task of grading paper-based homework. Ignoring the testing management features of an OPREP and limiting it to a web-based homework tool is a reflection on implementation strategy. The purpose of this research is to develop a grounded theory about effectively implementing OPREP, which is informed by the perspectives and beliefs of the developmental mathematics students who use them. This mixed method study critically analyzed the student comment sheets, student evaluations, and the responses from 129 Elementary Algebra students who completed a questionnaire about their experiences using WebAssign. Analysis through an adult learning theory lens revealed the central phenomenon of the students’ needs for immediate feedback and the role that feedback plays in facilitating self-regulated learning.
The findings reveal that the nature of the feedback extended beyond correctness. Students preferred to use interactive step-by-step tutorials, practicing different versions of the problem and watching lectures more than any other learning tool.
The instructor’s implementation was a point of emphasis for key students. Multiple repeaters of elementary algebra stressed the importance of the OPREP implementation strategy on their achievement. Comments range from differences in the availability and strategic deployment of the learning tools to proper instruction on how a student should use the OPREP. Although this study confirms a significant and relative large correlation between homework and an exit examination, it also shows that OPREP assessments such as quizzes and practice examinations have stronger positive correlations. Results showed that OPREP quiz average was the best sole predictor of student achievement. OPREP quiz average was also the only OPREP assignment category included as a predictor of student achievement in the best multiple linear regression model.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Mathematics Education
Thesis Advisors
Vogeli, Bruce R.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 17, 2016